PhD Student

Last application date
Jan 28, 2022 00:00
DI04 - Department of Translational Physiology, Infectiology and Public Health
Limited duration
Msc. in biotechnology, biochemistry, (bio)medical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, bioscience engineering, chemistry, computer science, computer engineering, bioinformatics, computational biology, or related
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

Ph.D. candidate for a collaborative project between Ghent University and PRIMORIS (Baekeland mandate).
The Laboratory of Chemical Analysis (LCA, headed by Prof. L. Vanhaecke, belongs to the Department of Translational Physiology, Infectiology and Public Health (Ghent University) and has over 40 years of experience in the mass spectrometric analysis of residues and contaminants in different matrices, including e.g. meat, urine, etc. Since 2010, a new analytical path was entered, thereby exploiting the possibilities of high-resolution mass spectrometry-based (untargeted) metabolomics. LCA has established in-depth expertise towards the development and validation of high-resolution mass spectrometry methods, processing and statistical analysis of multivariate mass spectrometric data, including advanced machine learning.
PRIMORIS is a spin-off from Ghent University and is since more than 20 years specialized in the analysis of pesticides and contaminants in food and feed using mainly triple quad mass spectrometry methods. PRIMORIS is one of the leading European labs in this domain.
The candidate will prepare an application for a Baekeland mandate (submission March 2020, under the guidance of the academic (LCA) and industrial (PRIMORIS) promoters. A Baekeland mandate is a project that is assigned to a ‘consortium’, involving at least a Ph.D. candidate, a Flemish company (PRIMORIS) and a Flemish university (Ghent University). This type of Ph.D. funding gives the opportunity to carry out research in close collaboration with industry. On the one hand, a Flemish company is involved; this determines the strategic orientation of the project and ensures co-funding. On the other hand, Ghent University is responsible for supporting and awarding a Ph.D. in accordance with the usual quality standards.

Within this research project the candidate will:

  • evaluate and implement machine learning and artificial intelligence protocols in order to develop new chemical analytical evaluation tools;
  • expand current and build new software to speed up new and running research projects;
  • contribute to bioinformatics and chemical analytics research;
  • collaborate closely with lab teams to design, engineer and implement analytic pipeline solutions;
  • communicate effectively with collaborators and the scientific community (e.g. at international conferences) to understand and satisfy product and research analysis needs;
  • provide training for the developed/implemented software/tools for internal users.

Job profile


  • You hold a master’s degree in biotechnology, biochemistry, (bio)medical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, bioscience engineering, chemistry or equivalent.
  • You have a sound background in bioinformatics.
  • You have hands-on experience in Python, R and/or other programming languages.
  • Having experience in (mass spectrometry based) food analyses is an asset.
    AND/OR IT-oriented
  • You hold a master’s degree in computer sciences, computer engineering, bioinformatics, computational biology, or equivalent, in which experience in life sciences is a plus.
  • Coding proficiency in Python, R and/or other programming languages, proficiency in SQL is an asset.
  • Programming experience in Unix/Linux environment.
  • Developing codebases using distributed version control tools (especially Git).
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are needed for working in an interdisciplinary team of scientists and programmers.


  • You are creative, critical and have great problem-solving skills.
  • You are a highly motivated and result-driven.
  • You are a flexible team player with the capacity to work independently.
  • Strong analytical thinking to dissect the needs of different internal clients.
  • You have strong research and presentation skills, illustrated by your master thesis.
  • You have an open mind and broad range of interests.
  • You are eager and motivated to acquire a Ph.D.
  • You have good communication and writing skills (Dutch and/or English).
  • Our core competencies are appealing to you: client focus, result-driven, willingness to continuous learning, flexibility, and collaboration.

As our new colleague, we fully engage towards you:

  • Working in a pleasant environment with a young and dynamic team at Ghent University.
  • Working in close collaboration with the industrial partner PRIMORIS: a specialized high-tech and growing international group with nice colleagues.
  • At PRIMORIS you will find time for an open and appreciating approach, continuous development, responsibility, and personal initiatives.
  • Your will get training in PRIMORIS and its development team.
  • The opportunity to obtain a Ph.D. and take the next step in your career.
  • Employment during the project preparation phase is possible.

How to apply

For further information or to apply (include motivation letter, curriculum vitae and contact information of two potential referees), please contact:
After a first screening, candidates that meet the requirements will be invited for an interview.